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Kaleb Thompson

Born and raised in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Since I was young, I knew I would be in the construction trade… I was always building and working with my hands. My dad woodworked as a hobby and I would always be in the shop hammering nails or cutting with the scroll saw, and thus started my journey in the world of creating. In high school, my favourite and most successful class was construction shop class where I learned the foundations of building processes and techniques. There, I was awarded the Saskatchewan youth apprenticeship scholarship. After school, I started a job installing hardwood floors, which taught me lots about high-end detail work and helped me develop the skills and patience needed to produce high-end work. At this time, I started building small pieces of furniture and other projects. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much I decided it was something I wanted to learn more about, which led me to the Selkirk Fine Woodworking Program.

 

I’ve always loved seeing the creative ways furniture makers can take a simple piece of wood and express themselves in unique ways. Whether it be clean lines or smooth curves, if a piece appears to have had thought put into it, I was inspired. As I started diving into fine woodworking, one technique really caught my eye that I’d never seen much before, marquetry. Marquetry is the art of assembling a picture or design from assorted pieces of wood veneers. This technique is as beautiful as it is complicated. I read as much as I could on the techniques of masters like Silas Kopf and Paul Schurchl, and worked out the process in a way that worked for me. With each piece I complete, I learn what works and what doesn’t, and I’m constantly refining the process. Marquetry opens up endless design possibilities. Because of this, most of my designs start with the marquetry.
Something I learned from master marquetry artists is that it’s important to produce a piece that would look good if there was no marquetry. When in the design process, I usually start with a general theme I want the entire piece to revolve around and design a marquetry piece based on the theme or vice versa. Then, I start with the rest of the structure of the piece and other elements. I try to design each part to relate the theme in someway, and that goes from the shape, texture, placement, or wood selection. I’m inspired by the way Silas and Paul are creating marquetry that uses traditional techniques, but in entirely new ways. I’m hoping to follow in this way and design new and unique pieces.